We generally don’t give our jaw a second thought, but that can change quickly after we start experiencing jaw pain. Today, we dive into jaw injuries, and we explain some common treatment strategies.
Jaw pain, also classified as temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ), can be quite the debilitating injury. After all, we move our jaws a lot when we talk and eat. There are several different types of jaw injuries your can suffer, including jaw fractures, dislocations or muscle injuries. Some common symptoms of these injuries include:
- Teeth misalignment/Bite misalignment
- Inability to fully open your jaw
- Numbness in the chin or lower lip
- Bruising or discoloration of the jaw or under your tongue
- Bleeding in your mouth
Additionally, jaw pain might not be noticeable in the immediate aftermath of an accident or injury. Delayed onset of jaw symptoms isn’t uncommon, so if you start to experience jaw pain a week after the accident, it may be worthwhile to swing into a doctor’s office.
Jaw Pain Treatment
If you’re at home when symptoms start to surface, begin treatment by icing the area. A bag of ice wrapped in a cloth or a bag of frozen peas works perfectly. The pain could be caused by inflammation, and may resolve on its own with rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications.
Other times you know right away that you’ve suffered a severe jaw injury, and you need to get to a doctor. Once you arrive at the medical center, the doctor will begin by examining your jaw with his hands. He’ll look for signs of a fracture, check your bite alignment and ask where the pain is located. He’ll probably have a pretty good idea of what’s wrong, but he’ll likely order an X-ray to see exactly where the break occurred. In some cases, a CT scan may also be ordered. If the injury isn’t too severe, your doctor will likely provide some care instructions that includes eating soft foods, icing, resting and pain medications.